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Its basically an old SATA Hard Drive with a Windows XP partition I was trying to sell.

When my computer does the BIOS checks, it doesn't pass the SMART test (but I can boot it anyway), although I can't boot Linux in any way with this Hard Disk connected (I even tried Live CD distros, like Parted Magic).

I can boot the XP partition from inside the disk, although I guess its pretty close to not being able to. Is there any way to "fix" this Hard Drive?

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3 Answers 3

Once SMART failure is triggered, the drive is pretty much gone.

Sometimes you can recover data, sometimes not.

I would certainly not sell it to somebody. Either try a warranty replacement if it's still under warranty, or smash it up with a hammer and chuck it in the trash.

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You don't need to get any data off of it, do you? If not, just boot off of something else and then use any tool that can zero out the whole drive. Without knowing more about what the SMART error code was, I'm guessing it's the problem I run into the most, which is that there are failing sectors. Modern drives usually map out bad blocks directly themselves, invisibly to the host system. But they usually only do it on write. If you force every sector to get written to, you'll give the drive a chance to map out the bad sectors.

Then format the drive however you want, and pre-install whatever OS you're going to sell it with.

Hmm. As I was writing this, I realized that most of the time I see bad blocks on a drive, it doesn't show up as a SMART failure. So your drive could well have a different problem. You should probably use a tool that can tell you the exact SMART error code (I don't have one to recommend -- hopefully someone else will speak up), and see what you can learn from that.

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You could try placing the drive in a USB enclosure and plugging it after the machine boots from a live CD. The USB enclosure may mask the SMART test results from the BIOS.

I have had good results freezing drives that fail with the "clicking" symptom. They typically work for 5-20 minutes per freezing cycle and it can be repeated.

This reference may help you diagnose the SMART failure.

I would consider any drive that has had a mechanical failure to be unreliable for future use. It may work or it may not. Ask yourself this: Is your data worth the cost of a new drive?

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+1 for the warning. If a drive is having issues, you're far better off just replacing it. Hard drives are cheap these days. –  nhinkle Sep 19 '10 at 7:00

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